Study: Even the insured face high costs

An consumer health advocacy group has concluded that despite having insurance, many Americans face medical costs they cannot afford. A new report by The Access Project suggests that deductibles and co-payments, as well as premiums, are a major source of medical debt for many consumers. Other contributors to medical debt included annual or lifetime benefit caps, out-of-network charges and patient confusion over what they owe. The report's overall conclusions square with another recent study, a poll by USA Today, which found that one in four Americans had trouble paying their medical bills, even though 69 percent of those with expense troubles had insurance. This analysis doesn't sit well with insurance industry groups like America's Health Insurance Plans, which argues that the study unfairly pins rising costs on insurers rather than drivers such as new treatments and drugs, increased demand for services by an aging population and defensive medicine.

To learn more about the study:
- read this USA Today piece